Baby Nerves; Chapter 1

13 September 2019

Hello everyone,

 

Well, we’re here. The month of our baby’s due date has finally arrived. I am so terrified and excited all at once. I plan to not use an epidural during childbirth, and I hope and pray that the delivery process goes as smoothly and as quickly as possible. We are as ready as we possibly can be, and the nursery has been thoroughly decorated. The only two beings in my life I have yet to surprise are my two cats, Lefty & Felix. I can only pray that the adjustment for them will go smoothly and really well – I’m even hoping that maybe they’ll “help out” or want to be best buddies with the baby.

 

For all you moms out there, do you have any interesting and unique childbirth stories? I’d love to read them! Please comment below 🙂

 

Until then, please enjoy the first chapter of “Time & Tide”:

 

One

Two months later

“I can’t believe he actually asked you out!” twenty-two year old Madison Brooks squealed with delight, glancing at her light blue-colored cell phone sitting between the driver’s and middle seat of her bright yellow VW Bug. She shook her dark, honey blond, long hair as she hit the left turn signal to pass the motorcyclist in front of her.

Madison’s best friend since second grade, Nicole Donovan’s happy laugh came over the speakerphone. “Ha! I know. But what else can I say? I guess those looks we’d cast each other in the college library finally paid off.”

“Bravo.” Madison shook her head as she turned back into the right lane of the four-lane highway. Hills and hills of countryside passed her by. She was just leaving Seattle, at the very edge of Washington State after shopping for a present for her cousin’s bridal shower coming up in a week. “You are one brave girl. But be careful, Nicole. You know as well as I do how co-worker relationships can turn from a blossoming to a dud relationship in mere weeks.”

“That was different. When you worked at the computer store last year, that was different, Maddie. He was a dud, while Jake is so cool! So awesome, I just want to spend forever with him. You know what he told me? He told me that he’d liked me for six months! He didn’t even get hired at the library until seven months ago!”

“You were so lucky to find that job.” Madison laughed, and then smiled at the small town approaching, just sixty miles out of Seattle. “Okay, hon, you know what? I’m finally at Lincoln. I’d better go, but I promise I’ll call you tonight.”

“I have that family reunion thing tonight, sweetie,” Nicole added, and laughed again. She was obviously just so excited about her upcoming date with her co-worker. “But how about I call you ASAP, and then we’ll go have a whipped cream mocha together?”

“Sounds great. Have a great date tomorrow, if I don’t hear from you, then,” Madison called, and sped down her car, reaching the town just yards ahead of her.

“Oh, I will! Bye!” There was a clicking of the phone.

But not a minute after Nicole had hung up, there was a loud bang from behind her, along with a sharp jerk of Madison’s car.

She gasped in time to see, through her rearview mirror, the motorcyclist she’d just passed sprawled in the ditch.

Thankful no other cars were surrounding her to go into town, Madison slowed down immediately, and parked her car on the side of the road a few yards from the man. After calling for an ambulance, she hurried out of her sedan, and ran to the man lying in the ditch. The legs were crossed in a non-normal way, and he was very still. His mortocycle looked crushed from nearby, but she didn’t care about that.

“Oh, my goodness!” Madison madly prayed that the good Lord would help this poor guy. She reached the man’s side, and then felt for a pulse. She silently cheered when she felt a very steady one. “Sir, are you all right?” she called loudly, wondering how he could’ve barely hit the back of her car, yet look so still. “Sir, please. Can you hear me?”

She reached up, and unsnapped the fasten from under the man’s helmet. Then, she gently tugged the helmet off strongly with one hand, keeping her other hand at the back of the guy’s neck.

She gasped the moment the helmet was off, at the small gash at his head, and immediately understood that he must have hit it. He groaned, and she let her gaze caress his strong jaw, lean appearance, and short, blond-streaked, light brown hair. He wore a white dress shirt and black slacks, as if he’d just come from somewhere formally, and she frowned. Who was he?

“Sir,” she called again, and then patted his cheek. “Sir, are you okay?”

He groaned again, and then opened his eyes. The deep, tormented-looking, hazel-green eyes met hers glassily, and she swallowed hard at the appeal there. But she shouldered that off.  Her ex-computer store boyfriend from last year had taught her to trust only some men, like her father and brother, and various uncles and male cousins in her family, or her very few guy friends.

“Hi, I’m Madison Brooks,” she greeted him. “An ambulance is on the way. What’s your name?”

Resting his head against the soft grass, the man closed his eyes briefly, but she didn’t miss the flash of pain. “C-Cole,” he stammered, and then winced.

“Okay, Cole, just sit tight.” She braced herself for his resistance. “And try to stay awake. You hit my car, sir, but I’m sure it was a grave mistake, so I won’t call anyone on you. I’ll just have it repaired myself. Okay?”

Cole nodded jerkily, although he closed his eyes again.

Madison bit her lip, praying that he’d stay with her.

The sound of the ambulance sirens, though, answered her prayers, but she couldn’t just leave him.

He’d hit her car. Maybe it was a sign from God that he needed help.

*************************

The next morning, Madison carried two Styrofoam, small cups of coffee in the Billings, Montana hospital, twenty miles from Lincoln, Montana. She’d waited all day yesterday for this Cole guy to wake up so she could come to the hospital and apologize for being in his way. Since he had a mild concussion, the doctor told her that he wasn’t going to be released until tomorrow. That meant that today she was going to see if he was awake. By her request, the doctor had called her last night, telling her he’d awaken then, but stated that Cole had said he had no family to contact, so his insurance was strictly his own. So far, he seemed to be a bit of a grump, but Madison was determined, with her usual sunny attitude, to cheer him up. She figured it had to be really difficult to sit in bed and feel so hopeless. The doctor had also said he hadn’t been very hungry, so she also hoped to change that. In her opinion, he looked a little weak with how plumb skinny he was. He was tall and broad-shouldered, but still skinny, and that unnerved her.

As for the family thing, she couldn’t possibly see how one could have absolutely no family, but if he didn’t have any visitors, she’d visit him. It was as simple as that, the good Samaritan she tried to be anyways.

As she reached the private hospital door, she asked the Lord to give her courage, strength, and the guidance to act any way according to His will.

She knocked, and she recognized the doctor’s voice saying, “Come in.” She walked inside, noting that Cole was asleep, and then smiled brightly at Dr. Lewis.

“How’s he doing today?” she asked, placing her cup of coffee on a table by the window.

The forty-something-year old doctor shrugged. “I was just going to see if I should wake him up. His breathing and heartbeat are both normal, though, and when I changed his bandage, the gash looked better and a bit more healed over than it had yesterday.”

Madison swallowed hard, now wishing she hadn’t had that second doughnut for breakfast this morning. “Thank you for that,” she said wryly, feeling disgusted.

She walked right over to the window, and drew open the blinds with one big sweep.

As soon as the morning sunlight beamed on Cole, he flinched awake, and then squinted up at the window, then briefly at her as if annoyed.

“Morning,” she called happily, and then walked over to his side to mostly shade him from the sun beams. “You look better this morning, Cole.” She glanced at the doctor. “Dr. Lewis was just going to wake you up, but I thought of a better way.”

“Hello, Cole,” Dr. Lewis greeted the man, who cast an annoyed glance at the wall past him. “Like I said last night, you have a small concussion.”

“Yes, you do,” Madison added brightly. “But it’ll get better very soon. You’re even being let out tomorrow.” She glanced at the doctor, who was frowning. “What?”

Dr. Lewis cleared his throat. “Anyway, as I was saying before I was interrupted…”

Madison shrugged, and then shined a big smile on Cole, who quirked an eyebrow as if only a tiny bit amused.

“You will be discharged tomorrow, but I suggest you eat a good lot today,” Dr. Lewis added. “You look a bit thin, and it’ll just be less on this lady’s nerves anyway.” He cleared his throat. “Again, I have to ask your last name, Cole.”

“My full name is Cole Douglas Whitworth,” Cole said softly, and again, Madison didn’t miss the brief flash of pain in his eyes at saying his name. “Does that answer your question?”

“Yes,” Dr. Lewis answered calmly, one to not be trifled with. “And, again, may I ask, should I contact any family?”

Madison swallowed hard, bracing herself for whatever annoyed remark Cole might say next.

Cole gazed down at his bed sheets for a long moment, until Madison thought he wasn’t going to answer, and then he closed his eyes briefly. “Even if you did contact my family,” he said softly, “instead of being concerned, they’d just…” He swallowed hard. “Laugh at me.”

Madison and Dr. Lewis exchanged confused glances.

“May I suggest,” Dr. Lewis added stiffly, “that even though no family will be contacted, someone will  need to drive you home. That’s the hospital’s orders. Besides that, the mechanic shop in Lincoln, Montana called, and they said that your motorcycle won’t be finished being repaired until a week from now…at least.” He held up a hand at Cole’s sharp look. “Also, Miss Brooks tells me here that you barely hit the back of her car.”

Cole glanced at Madison for confirmation. “I thought you said you wouldn’t make me pay for anything.”

“I did,” Madison said with a nod.

“Which brings me to also point out,” Dr. Lewis concluded, “that I doubt very much that gash came from the accident. It was obviously caused by something else. Would you like to discuss that?”

“No,” Cole said softly, playing with the sheets. “I’ll be perfectly fine, Doc. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Dr. Lewis nodded at Madison, and then picked up his clipboard from the little movable table over Cole’s bed. “A nurse will be in here to check on you every hour or so.” He raised his eyebrows at Cole, as if warning him to keep from getting out of bed, and he left the room.

The only sound that followed was the ticking of the room clock.

Madison slowly gazed over at Cole, and then sent him a bright smile.

Cole frowned, and then sat up straighter in his bed. “What are you really doing here, Miss…?”

“I’m Madison Brooks. Remember?” She smiled sweetly at him. “I’m the one who rescued you?”

Cole’s eyebrows shot up. “Well, I don’t need rescuing any more.” He nodded at her. “Thanks. But I’m fine now.”

There was a long moment of silence.

Here was Madison’s cue to leave Cole’s room and never look back, to completely forget about ever looking after him. But she was determined to do God’s will, so since it didn’t seem done yet, she walked to his side, and handed him the extra Styrofoam cup of coffee.

“I don’t know how you like your coffee,” she said gently, and set the cup on the movable table. She slid it over to him so he could reach it, and then broadened her smile. “Of course,” she added, ignoring Cole’s quizzical look at her. “If you don’t like coffee, I can get you anything else to drink. Or eat. Orange juice, apple juice. Or if you like hot drinks…maybe some tea? I like tea. Or water? Or how about a mocha? Cappuccino?”

“This is fine,” Cole whispered, and took the coffee from the table.

“It’s black,” Madison warned, “although I brought some cream and—”

“I like it this way,” Cole whispered again, and then took a slow, cautious sip of it. He paused, and then looked at the cup as if it was his salvation. “I thought coffee like this was not allowed in hospitals.”

“It’ll be our little secret,” Madison said, and then sat in the chair next to his bed. She studied him for a long moment as he took another sip.

Then, Cole looked at her. “If you want to know where the door is…” He nodded his head at where it was. “It’s over there.”

“I know.” Madison kept a smile on, as if she was determined to stay. “But I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine,” Cole persisted. He couldn’t believe this woman. She didn’t look much older than he was, but her sunny attitude was beginning to bother him. What did she want? Money? Why was she even here? It couldn’t be to just help him. No one he knew ever did that.

“You have a bandage on your head, Cole, and the doctor said you have a slight concussion.” She shook her golden blond head. “You’re far from fine, silly.” She shook her index finger at him. “Besides, it’s Saturday. I don’t have to work today, so let me enjoy my day off.”

“Good for you,” he quipped, and then decided that  he’d better talk to her. She obviously was determined to stay, and he wasn’t like any other person in his family to just leave or else. Half the time, the “or else” meant a yet another murder he was forbidden to tell outside the business, lest he be their next victim.

He took a ragged breath, and then swallowed hard. The coffee turned to sand in his mouth, yet he continued drinking. He needed to ease the constant grief he felt every day of his life in the past two months over the loss of his mother, a grief no one else would ever have. After all these years, he still couldn’t believe how cruel the rest of his family was.

Yesterday, by opening his stupid mouth, he’d paid for his smart remarks. For an instant, his father had yelled at Addison for hitting him, but Cole knew that everybody thought, even his father, that he deserved it. Even if he had tried to defend his mother’s late reputation, the only one who ever had or who ever would.

“Where do you work?” he sighed out, deciding to do something besides sit in the room and feel sorry for himself.

“At a bookstore in Lincoln,” she stated happily. “That’s where I was going when you accidentally hit me.” She chimed out the words as if she hadn’t just said anything negative, harshly reminding him about his motorcycle, the only thing his brothers both liked about him. “Were you headed there, too?”

“I attend college at Montana State,” he said curtly, softly.

“Oh, me, too.” She grinned. “I’m now in graduate school for two years, going into art. I want to be an art teacher. Doesn’t that sound like so much fun? My best friend, Nicole was going into art, too, but then she changed her major. She now wants to be a dentist. But I guess colleges are all different anyway. She’s attending Washington State college in Seattle.”

Seattle. The one home Cole had ever known, except for his apartment in Manhattan. The place where his mother had died, for absolutely nothing in the world. His father, Byron had stated too many times that she’d been a pest, that with how her attitude and entire personality had gone, she would have eventually told the FBI about all the murders they’d committed in the past, although Cole had nothing to do with any one of them. He was determined to keep no criminal record in his sight, yet sometimes he worried that he’d go to jail one day just for knowing about all those nameless murders. His mother had wanted a good life, yet by a single mistake of marrying their father, she’d ruined all of their lives. Yet it hadn’t been her fault. Byron had been the one vowing that he was a good man, despite his great wealth. But when they’d married, Byron had taken on his late father’s legacy of the business, yet there had only been one murder before then. Every murder they had was inconsistent, completely innocent, and gravely hidden. Every victim’s family either had no family, or were murdered along with. They were mostly people who Byron or Addison had previously hired, and who later tried to tell someone about all the bad things happening from inside the business.

That was why Cole daily feared for his life. He’d rather live than have to suffer the torment his mother had gone through, being killed by her own family, hiring thugs to take care of her and all the rest of them.

“Have you ever been to the bookstore?” Madison asked him.

“Can’t say I have,” he said stiffly, and took another tried sip of his coffee.

“Well, you should sometime. It’s a fab place to work. My co-workers have become my friends. They’re so nice to be around.” Madison grinned. “I take it you’re in graduate school as well?”

He nodded. “I’m just going into business, math emphasis.”

“Sounds interesting. I guess all majors do in that way.” She thought hard for a long moment, and then her peaches-in-cream complexion looked guarded for several seconds. “If you don’t mind my asking, Cole Whitworth, what job do you have? Or don’t  you have one?’

“Not at the moment,”  he said carefully. “But my family…they….they have a big business.” If “big” was even the correct term to describe it.

Madison frowned for the first time all morning. Confusion was written all over her face, but the last thing Cole wanted to do was describe a single detail of the business. It would all turn into bad news, and since Madison seemed such a sweet girl, he hated to hurt her by letting gunmen come to her house…

He shook his head, mostly to get rid of that image. “It’s nothing.” He took another sip of his coffee.

“Oh,” was all  Madison said.

Just then, the door opened, and a nurse with a big grin walked inside.

“Hello, dear,” she greeted him, carrying a tray of food. “Ready to try some food today?”

Cole was ready to refuse, since his stomach felt too twisted to eat.

“Maybe something light to begin with?” She placed the tray on his table by the coffee.

“Yes, he will eat,” Madison remarked, and Cole looked up with surprise.

Madison was standing next to his bed, looking over the tray of food as if deciding for him on what he should or should not eat. “There’s only toast and orange juice here.” She frowned, and then glanced at the nurse. “Will you please get some soda crackers, Jell-O, and a small bowl of cereal? This can’t be all he eats for breakfast.” She fisted her hands on her hips.

“Right away, hon.” The nurse gave him one last smile, and then left to retrieve the items.

He frowned, and then glanced back at Madison. “What are you—”

“You are going to eat,” she told him, looking at him sternly. “And if you don’t, I might as well feed you.”

Now he was really confused. “All right, why are you helping me so much, Miss Brooks?”

“Madison,” she corrected instantly, and smiled. “I want to be a good Samaritan. You know. For God?”

God. The One Person Cole tried to count on as much as possible, despite all the  bad things constantly happening in his life. “O-Oh.” He swallowed hard.

“Besides.” She smiled gently at him. “They’re not going to discharge you until you’ve eaten at least two three-course meals.”

“Fine,” he sighed, knowing how relentless she was being. “You can help. But don’t feed me.”

“All right.” Madison giggled, a bell-like sound that momentarily filled the room with warmth. Then, she cocked her head at him. “But don’t look so guilty or frustrated, Cole. I’m just trying to be a good helper. You probably need it anyway, right?” She briefly glanced at his shoulders. “To get some skin on those bones?” She shook her head as if she couldn’t believe him, and then gently edged the table closer to him.

Cole couldn’t help feeling a smile start at the corners of his mouth. She was something else. He’d never met anyone as demanding  yet so kind, at least not since his mother had passed.

“All right.” He sighed, hoping his stomach accepted the food.  ”I’ll eat.”

“Thank you.” Madison beamed at him, and then walked over to the table by the window to take her own coffee and drink it.

The nurse came back inside with another tray, and set the plate of crackers, and two different plastic bowls of cereal and Jell-O on his other tray so it wouldn’t be so cluttered around him. “There. Want anything else?”

“I’m fine, thanks,” he said, and then stared at all the food he had to eat. And he had to eat it, too, or he was sure to get a good scolding from someone, either the nurse or Madison.

“Thank you,” Madison called as the nurse left.

Cole heard a chuckle come out of him for the first time in some months, at least. “I think she’s a bit scared of you.”

“She’d better be.” Still standing by the table, Madison rolled her eyes. “How dare she for feeding you so little to begin with. Your stomach has to be screaming with hunger by now, right?”

“Sure,” he said, and took another sip of his coffee before digging into the food….reluctantly. The hospital food was a little blah, but feeling Madison nearby, as if a new friend, was brightening his spirits a bit. He could hardly explain the feeling, so he kept eating to make himself behave better. She was just a helper, after all, and she’d probably be gone from his life in a mere few hours.

There was the sound of some jolly jingling, and he glanced over to see Madison punch in a button of her cell phone. “Hey, Nicole.” She grinned at him, mouthed, “eat,” and then turned her back on him to answer the call.

But as Cole ate, however, he couldn’t help hearing how delighted and unbelievably happy Madison sounded as she talked on the phone.

He was almost finished when he heard her gasp.

“Oh, Joan,” she groaned on the phone, now on her second call in the thirty whole minutes it’d taken him to force down all that food. He had to admit, though, that he did feel better than he had yesterday. “You’re kidding me.” She turned back, her face looking fallen, and Cole couldn’t explain it, but it felt like someone had punched him in the gut at that look on her face. She sighed heavily. “All right, fine. See you in a bit.” She ended the call, and then glanced at him, apologies deep in her eyes. “I’m so sorry, Cole, I hafta go.” She reached for her stuff. “I was called into work, because my co-worker Joan got food poisoning. She’s okay, of course,” she added as if she thought he might want to know, “but I need to fill in for her.”

“Go ahead.” He waved a hand. “I’ll be fine. I even finished my food, see?” He motioned to his mostly empty tray of food, filled with mostly empty, plastic dishes.

“Great job.” She grinned as if meaning the words. “But hey, I’ll see you in about five or six hours. ‘Kay? Hope you rest until then.”

She was coming back? Cole swallowed hard, appalled by her kindness. “You….You don’t have to.”

Madison stopped fidgeting with her purse to glance up at him.

“I mean…” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “I’m a lot better now. You don’t have to come back. I appreciate your generosity, really. It’s just…”

“Just that I’m not going to leave you alone.” She shrugged. “I already called a church friend, and told them I’ll be into church late tomorrow, since I’m taking you home.” She smiled at him. “I’m not going anywhere. I rescued you, remember?”

That didn’t matter, Cole knew. Because if he became friends with this woman, his family might find out.

“Eat up.” She grinned. “I’ll come back later, and by then you better have eaten two full meals, mister.” She pointed her index finger at him. “Or you’re getting it good.” She waved. “Have a great afternoon!”

In a blur, then, Madison Brooks was gone, and Cole was gaping at the door as it closed behind her. He could not believe how she was acting. It was extremely generous of her. Why would she want to be so kind? Or even try? She didn’t know the kind of man he was.

Cole forced himself to finish his breakfast, although the rest of it just tasted like dust to the ends of the dreaded earth.

**********************************************************

Advertisements

When God Surprises You~

12 July 2019

 

Hello, everyone,

 

God has been known to surprise me a lot in my life, but sometimes, I forget to thank Him. I think that’s our fault in those moments – that we forget to thank Him for all He has given us. Sure, we ask for things in prayer every day – but do we ever really think to thank Him?

 

There have been so many dark moments in my life, just like everyone else’s life, where I’ve found I could not have gotten through that tunnel of darkness if the Lord hadn’t been by my side. We must have that relationship with Him, though, and serve Him the way it commands in His Word, in order for it to make a real difference in our lives.

 

When I was a kid, I was extremely shy and quiet. Because of that, I often got ignored or put on the back burner. I often got made fun of and ridiculed. Everyone I knew were very outgoing and didn’t know how to deal with a quiet, shy person like me. That darkness a shy person feels can only be understood by introverts. To this day, sometime I’m still shy, but I’m 95% better than I was back then. I owe that only to God.

 

When I was in college my sophomore year, I decidedly disliked my major of mass communications that I was in. It wasn’t for me, and I simply had to find my way. A professor suggested I take up a degree in English instead, and once I changed my degree, my life was forever changed. I loved college classes because of that, and grew much more knowledgeable in my work as a freelance writer. Not only that, but my degree gradually landed me a job that I love. I owe these things to God.

 

In 2011, after a bad breakup with my first boyfriend, I wanted nothing to do with men for the rest of my life, which left me miserable, because finding my one true love had been my #1 goal and desire in life aside from serving God. But God surprised me: a friend introduced me to my future husband. I took a risk and after four months of getting to know him through our daily text conversations, he mustered the courage to ask me out. Then, at KFC, we met for the first time, and that meeting changed my life. Because of God, my husband is my #1 blessing in my life and my best friend. I owe everything I’ve experienced and love to God for blessing my husband in my life.

 

And finally, last year was when it didn’t look very hopeful for us to get a house. Also, we felt like God was making us wait for a baby. These two things were constant thorns in my side. And then, last December, God blessed us with the opportunity to finally get a house. Then, a week or so after we started looking at houses, I found out I was pregnant. And now, we’re perfectly happy in a twin home and will be expecting a kid in September! Although, I felt ashamed of myself for doubting Him in the times when I had. The day I got our pregnancy confirmed with a doctor, I was on cloud nine. The whole drive home, I could not stop praising and thanking God for His blessings. After waiting for what seemed like forever, crying about it and praying about it daily, I had resigned myself with the realization that if God willed for these blessings to occur, He’d make it happen. And He did! He understands each and every one of us better we know ourselves. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this entire past trial, it’s that God surprises us in His most perfect timing.

 

Believe that today! I can’t wait to see how God surprises my family and I in the future. So if you’re reading this, stuck in a rut and wondering how God will possibly pull through for you – believe this today, folks. God WILL come through for you! Yes, it will be within His most perfect timing, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. The world doesn’t revolve around us, our needs, and our wants. God wants us to serve Him and lean onto Him – not out of weakness because we’re not weak – but out of love, respect, honor, and adoration toward Him. He knows what’s best for us. No, it may not be exactly what we prayed for, but even in time, you will see that God knows that His answer to our prayers – not ours – worked out better than any other conclusion we could’ve ever imagined.

 

Do you have questions about this or how to come to God? Or maybe you’re struggling and need a listening ear? Hit me up by an email message or a comment below! I always love hearing from my followers.

 

Also, once the baby is born, I recognize that I’ll have little to no time for writing. I understand that my writing may need to be put temporarily on hold. But that’s okay – you know why? Because I trust that God will surprise me, as He has surprised me in the past, and as He will continue to surprise me. And He’ll even surprise YOU! But only if you let him 🙂

 

Have a safe, happy, and fun July 🙂

 

JMK~

How to Live a Happy Life~

19 April 2019

Hello, everyone,

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, and I do apologize about that. I’ve spent the past couple months getting prepared for our house and baby, as well as planning, organizing, and nesting. I have missed writing, however, very much, and even after the baby is born, I still plan to write. I’ll never give it up.

 

So with everything going on around you, living a busy life day after day, how do you still live a happy life?

 

Well, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt truly happy until I’ve heartily prayed about the things in my life that bug me, and then leave the rest to God, trusting Him to handle it in His own good time. It gives you such peace when you finally allow God to take care of even the smallest things in your life, such as what you and your spouse are going to have for supper that night. I’ve been known to pray about such things. It gives me the courage to rely on the Lord even more. In fact, you can rely upon Him with anything in your life that may bug you. Praying about it simply makes it all disappear, as well as causes you to realize that maybe the situation isn’t as bad as you may think. After all, you’re giving it to a big God who is more than capable of handling it!

 

The main reason there is a growing rate of suicides in the world today, is because people are not truly happy. They may have hobbies that they love, family members that they love, and so forth. But if you don’t a hundred percent give everything to the Lord, then how do you expect to endure true peace in your life? Even after a couple of days of neglecting to pray, I feel weak and empty inside. Many times, I’ve heard how people in the news admitting that they felt suicidal or depressed, because they felt so empty inside.  That emptiness and depression wouldn’t be there if only they had given their problems and burdens to God. Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. There are still things that I personally struggle with and have to cry out to God about them every day, but I pray that God will help me through them and give me the wisdom and guidance to know how to encounter such trials. Maybe the trial is a person in our life who brings us down in some way, or maybe it’s an event or circumstance that you dread coming across either occasionally or regularly. Maybe it’s something in your own personality that you wish was different. Whatever the case, give it to the Lord. Even though He knows what we need and want before we ask Him, we should never be afraid to ask Him for things, because that’s what builds a lasting relationship with Him.

 

There was a time in my life when I hardly ever prayed to God unless I absolutely needed something extremely important changed or a problem fixed within my life. I realize now how wrong that was. Aside from asking for things we need and want, as well as giving all of our burdens over to Him, we need to do so with a thankful heart. A lot of times, if we get a prayer answered, we forget about how fervently we’d prayed to God about that situation that we don’t even thank Him for the answered prayer! We must stop this. After all, God gave us His Son to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins. Jesus was innocent; we are not. God gave us the blessing of our spouse; our true friends; our family; our home; our jobs; our cars; our gift of life to breathe and live each and every day. If we only pray to God whenever we need Him, we’re not giving Him enough credit and we’re definitely not being very fair to Him who has given us all things.

 

So once again, do you want to know the key to a truly happy life? God. Find God, and you find yourself and every answer to every problem in your life. Find God, and you’ll never be depressed or suicidal. Find God, and everything will work out beautifully in your life. And trust me – as soon who prayed fervently every day for years for a baby and a bigger home, and those things have happened – they WILL turn out all right. 🙂

 

Happy Easter, everyone 🙂

 

JMK~

A Story the Vacant Buildings Could Tell~

A Story the Vacant Buildings Could Tell~

19 February 2019

Hello everyone,

 

When I was growing up, life seemed so much simpler. For everyone, I believe, it does feel that way. When you’re in junior high, for example, the only things you’d hafta worry about are: cleanliness, making sure your school homework is due on time, and staying out of the way of school bullies. Right now, I’d gladly go back in time and live at least one day during my junior high years, but not to do it again – rather, to remember who I was back then and how I’ve changed from then until now. Also, I wish I could have at least one more conversation with my grandmother again. I miss her every day, and unfortunately, it wasn’t until she passed away that I came full force with the abrupt realization of how fast time really does go. I remember visiting her house when I was a child where she served me tea and cookies, only to grow up and walk through the now- empty house as an adult.

 

I’ll give you an example of how fast life goes: in the above picture is the welcome sign to Leith, ND, where my mother and her five siblings grew up out in the country. This tiny, sleepy town only has one working business: the bar, and the remainder of the buildings sit still, silent, and closed down, boards up with stories left to tell.

imagesThe above picture’s building used to be the post office. I’ve looked through the windows before, and there are still fliers left hanging up inside it. One year, the town was having an anniversary celebration, and it was fun to see most of the buildings open, walk around inside them, and inspect how life once used to be. In the early 1900s, my late great-grandpa Julius ran the town creamery with his father and then with his brothers. His wife, Gram Margie, used to tell us stories when she was alive, stories of harsh winters spent where my late grandma Rita and her brother sometimes walked to the creamery to stay warm instead of walking all the way home. One afternoon when I was a teenager, I sat with Gram Margie in her assisted living family room, flipping through old, black and white photos  and asking questions; the stories she told me really struck.

 

Country music legend Alan Jackson (who happens to be my all-time favorite country music artist by the way) even touches on such details within his song, “Little Man.” I grew up listening to old country music legends whenever we traveled to town or even thirty miles away where the best and most affordable grocery store was for us. My mom even had it running on the house stereo as we helped her clean house on Saturdays. It gradually became a comfort to me, and to this day, I refuse to listen to “modern” country music. You can’t beat the classics like Clint Black, Alan Jackson, George Strait, etc., and I find it sad that a lot of school kids nowadays don’t even know who those people are. I consider them part of my childhood, as well as part of who I am as a person. Why? Because it was those songs that we listened to as we traveled to places with my parents. And it was those car rides that made me think and ponder my life and who I was – not in a negative or depressing way, but just pondering how far God had taken me thus far. Whenever we went to Leith, ND, which was at least once a year, it was like coming home. Not only did we get to see my maternal grandparents, but we got to appreciate even more country side living and how it’d shaped us as human beings. I feel the same way with my parents’ home, especially now that my maternal grandparents have now passed on and we don’t visit Leith anymore. I’ll always be a country girl in my heart, because that’s how I was raised.

 

We each have our story to tell, and one day, we’ll tell those stories to our grandchildren and, God willing, great-grandchildren. I hope and pray that I get to do that one day, to tell them about my life and the blessings God has granted me. Nowadays, as my husband and I work every day, as well as work to get a bigger place to live with a baby on the way, I realize we are starting our own legacy. At one time in their lives, our grandparents were doing the same things. Then, suddenly, one day they wake up in their old age and realize their spouse is gone and they can barely walk. I wish I could’ve asked my grandparents more questions, such as how they’d handled life challenges when they were building houses and creating their families. What were their thoughts, feelings, and ideas? How did God so creatively chart their life courses?

 

You’ll get busy with taking care of the house, raising kids, and working – and then bam, before you know it, you’re sitting in the nursing home pondering your life. It’s rather sad, really, but it’s also needful, because it makes you want to cherish those good memories and good times more and more every day. I know I’ve written a blog post similar to this one before, but I cannot stress even more of how important it is to cling to life and cherish every moment. What kind of legacy do you plan to leave behind? And how do you want to live your life? Hopefully not with regret.

 

As I live my own life, in the here and now, I plan to enjoy the good moments, wonderful times, and pleasant memories as often as I possibly can. Because before you know it, in a blink of an eye, life ends and all that remains are the stories that your children and grandchildren continue without you.

 

If the empty, closed down, and boarded up buildings could talk, they’d tell stories on who had lived or worked in that building. In fact, they’d probably never stop talking. Story after story they’d tell of the human beings who stepped foot between those walls, busy with life, going about their business with no thought at all how maybe, just maybe, that very business might be closed down one day. Old ones die, and houses that were built with two hands by an in-love couple who raised a houseful of children are now left behind to rot.

antler1downloadleith

Look at the house in the second picture above – it’s dark, empty, and lonely, left behind by a happy family that grew up laughing, playing games, and learning about life. Look at the buildings in the other pictures. They’re all empty, abandoned, and alone, no longer wanted and no longer needed. Gives you something to think about it, doesn’t it? There were once memories in all of these similar type places throughout the country. The buildings could tell us story after story.

 

Back in the 1900s, I can just imagine the hustling of an old shop’s door jingling open and closed as the workers carried out their business. Young women in their thirties, with long dresses and thick coats, stringing along several small children, to make a deposit at an old bank that no longer exists, or to mail a letter in a post office that is now closed down. Their husbands are at home, farming the land. The children they carry along were our grandparents. If you think about it, it steals your breath away to ponder how life begins and changes in an instant. When an old one passes, new life begins, and so forth will life continue until Judgment Day. We’re only here for a short time, after all – only 80-100 years, if we’re lucky. Let’s make the best of every moment and every day that we have left. One day, after we pass, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be following in our footsteps: growing up, graduating from school(s), getting married, having children, buying a house, raising the children, and then, growing old. Before long, our memories become farther and farther away from our future generation’s minds, and one day, a child picks up a picture of you eighty years later and asks her grandparent who that is. Then, after an explanation, that picture will be placed back in a drawer to rest.

And in the mean time, our grandchildren and great-children will one day whisper,  “I hope I make her proud by carrying on her legacy.”

 

JMK~

Waiting for What You Want Most~

Waiting for What You Want Most~

14 January 2019

 

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year!!! 🙂 🙂

 

I cannot believe that it is finally the new year! 🙂 2018 was such a terrible year, filled with disappointment and death. Therefore, I am so thankful for a new year; for new beginnings and adventures. I’m so looking forward to what God has planned for us this year!

 

In fact, below are my 2019 goals. I never fulfill all of my yearly goals, but it’s still fun to plan and think ahead, isn’t it?

 

  • Develop a stronger faith & a complete trust in God.
  • Finish my current WIP (Work In Progress), “The Innkeeper’s Secret”, and thoroughly revise it and do research on it.
  • Finish my final FINAL revision of “The Dead Sister”, completely revise the query letter & synopsis, and once again submit to literary agents.
  • God willing – find our house, buy it, and move out of our apartment before the summer.
  • Spend more time with family and true friends, as well as church family.
  • Learn better on forgive and forget, as well as how to be completely content with my life for now.

 

Right now, I am waiting on several things in my life. One thing I can mention is that I am waiting for the time when I’m once again a published author! Within this past week, I became an official author on Goodreads!! How huge that is, because to me that means that I’m still not just a writer, but an author. Granted, I’ve only published one book in my life, but still, I have faith that one day, God will bless me with even more books to place on bookshelves. This time, God willing, they’ll be on shelves at Barnes & Noble – just like my favorite author, Kate Morton.

 

Waiting is sooooo tough. Everyone in the world has waited on something in some point of their lives. Maybe you’re simply waiting for life to begin – for college to start, to finally move out and be free from your parents. Or maybe you’re waiting to finish college and find that career you love. You could be waiting for that dream career, for God to bless you with that perfect spouse, for God to bless you with a baby, or for God to save you from the problems/trials going on in your life.

 

Whatever you’re waiting on – just remember, God knows. Right now, God has forced my husband and I to wait for blessings that only He can provide. But in those times of trial and uncertainty, it’s important not to lose hope or faith. This season of waiting is simply just a test of your faith. God wants to see how much you’ll depend on Him – or if you’ll take matters into your own hands! And folks, DO NOT TAKE MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS!! Do not even make a single decision in your life without praying about it first. It’ll only cause you to have to take a serious detour within that certain big decision or issue you’re praying hard for. But if you simply trust God and be patient, God WILL come through for you because He DOES exist and He DOES LOVE YOU more than you can possibly imagine!

 

One of the hardest choices I’m faced with right now is being patient – but in the course of that, I’m learning how to be content with where God has put me at this point in my life. No, it’s not fair, and quite often, I cry out to God and pray with my whole heart for Him to answer our prayers. But alas, we must let God’s timetable rule.

 

Soooo what are you supposed to do in the mean time while you wait?

 

Busy yourself with the hobbies you love. Right now, while I wait, I’m devoted to re-decorating and re-organizing our home, playing piano more, reading suspense novels, working harder to learn & love my job better, and planning and writing my current WIP. I’ve also devoted myself to spending more time in God’s Word, in prayer, and spending more time with my husband, Ryan, as well as my family, true friends, and church family. No, all of these hobbies do not block the desperate longing coursing through my heart several times a day. They do not block out the need for those dreams that drive me forward daily. But even more important than that – in fact, the most important of all – by gradually learning to let go of my fears and worries each morning and choosing to trust God, I’ve found an everlasting peace. That peace comes only by giving our Creator all control. I’m not saying it’s easy; in fact, it comes only over time, as well as through sincere Christian growth.

 

But I promise you this – when God whispers, “Okay, you’re ready now,” and answers your prayers – just think how eternally thankful you’ll be! And you know what? You’ll also be thankful that you had trusted Him in the first place, because He is our dearest friend we have, and He will never let us down. Never! No matter how He chooses to answer our prayers! 🙂

 

Are you struggling right now in your faith? Or are you looking to get closer to God? Or maybe it’s your first time turning to God in your life and you want to learn more about Him? Come on, don’t be shy. – Please feel free to comment or else drop me a line at my email: books_jmg@yahoo.com. Never lose hope, my friends, and never lose patience! Yes, it will be trying at times – but it WILL be so incredibly worth it!

 

Make sure to follow me on Goodreads! Have a good January, everyone 🙂

 

JMK~

When in Doubt, Do What Grandma Says~

30 October 2018

 

Hello everyone,

 

Hope everyone has had a good October and fall so far. Halloween is tomorrow, and I’m dressing up as Mario. What are you dressing up as?

 

This October has been a terrible one for me, mainly because my 92-year old grandmother, Agnes, passed away on Oct. 15th. I cannot even begin to explain to you the depth of how hard the past couple weeks has been. They’ve passed by in a blur, but it’s been a blur of numbness and shock. I keep having to poke myself that this wonderful, spirited woman who had lived next door to my parents out in the country all my life is now gone. There are no words to fully examine to you how much I miss her, or how much I crave her presence.

 

Almost every weekend when I was growing up, I went over to her house and hung out with her. I baked with her, prayed with her, and learned from her. As I grew older, I didn’t notice that she growing older, too, but in a completely different way, even though she was still her loving, spirited self. She had the same laugh, the same directness to handling disobedience as well as not being afraid to tell you exactly how she felt about something. But that was okay, because she was her own person. She loved the Lord, she loved her family, and loved reading, puzzles and, in the earlier years, enjoyed sewing as well. I fondly think that I’ve received my enjoyment of writing from her. She had a single typewriter she used for typing out all of her letters, recipes, and notes. She enjoyed reading and had done so for many years, up until within the past few years where she couldn’t see well enough to do so. When I was either 13 or 14, she started ordering Love Inspired/Harlequin books (which amounted to about 4 books a month) and gradually, when she was done reading them, she put them in a special cupboard in her desk for me to take and read for myself next time I visited her. Every time I visited, she always had a personal story to share that was similar to one of the books I picked up, or a story that reminded her of one of the books’ plots. And I’d sit and listen to her calmly and patiently talk, while she thought of every aspect of the story just to make sure she got every part right.

 

I went to high school and college, graduated, and lived on my own for a couple years before I married my husband. Along that time, I worked, enjoyed being a newlywed, and forgot about how my grandmother had gotten even older. She started using a cane. Then, gradually, a walker. Then, before I knew it, myself and most of the other grandchildren sat in her nursing home room surrounding her where she lay, unconscious and on oxygen. As I sat there, occasionally visiting with my sisters and cousins, I gazed around the room at the pictures that had defined her life. Her wedding picture sat nearby, and within that photo sat a much younger woman who had a full life of possibilities stretched ahead of her. It made me realize then, as I sat there, about how fast life really does happen. Once you reached 30, the age I’m at, you only have 10 years until you reach 40. Then, before long, your kids make your years whiz by up through age 60. For example, I can’t believe my parents are in their early 60s now. It seems just yesterday they were in their 40s, raising little ol’ me and my younger sisters.

 

If you think about it, it’s really not fair. Relatively, on average, God only gives us 70-100 years to live on this earth. We’re babies, then we’re children, and then we graduate from high school. Then, we graduate from college. Then, we get married and have kids. (Not necessarily in that order.) We raise kids, watch them graduate and get married and have their own kids, and before we know it, we’re sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone. Every day, especially lately, it feels like life just goes faster and faster. When I was growing up, particularly in elementary and high school, the days crawled. Maybe it was because I hated school and didn’t enjoy my classes, nor have very many friends. Or maybe it was because I didn’t think of how slow or fast life was going. But while I was growing up, my grandma was growing older. Whenever I wrote to her, she wrote back sometimes complaining that I don’t visit as often as I should. At the time, I just shook my head and chuckled, mentally reminding myself to visit her next time I visited my parents. But now, looking back, I feel ashamed of myself and not visiting her as often as I probably should have. However, within the past few years, I began visiting her more and more, and that makes me really thankful now that I did do that. We didn’t even have to talk about much. She had the volume on loud because she couldn’t hear the greatest, and we’d just sit there in her living room watching old game shows together. Neither of us really ever had anything new to share. But the time was made to simply just be with each other and cherish the time together. After an hour or so, I remember that every time I admitted I had to go, she had this big disappointed look on her face. But I also knew she understood. She’d been young once, too.

 

I’m saying all these things not to make you depressed or feel sorry for me and our family’s loss. Rather, I want you all to really take a good look at your own life. What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? The kind of life you’re living now, they’re going to be envious of one day – especially your grandchildren. If you’re away from home a lot, visit your folks and grandparents as often as you possibly can! Trust me, if you don’t grab hold of that time and cherish it, you WILL regret it one day. I regret not spending more time with my grandma. I should’ve made it more of a point to spend more time with her, even though I spent as much time as I could with her. One day, you’re going to be sitting in a nursing home wondering where life had gone and why it had gone by so fast. Don’t just bypass this blog post without thinking about it very much – REALLY think about it, like I have. Enjoy your life, and cherish it. Grab hold of it as hard as you can, and spend as much time with your family as you can. For if you don’t, you’ll regret it, and that’s a horrible feeling to have.

 

On the day that my grandma was driven to the nursing home, she left her home for the last time. She looked back at the home in which she’d lived for many years. So many memories had been there. Raising kids, grandkids, and having grandkids visit in your house. Walking across the land and breathing in that fresh country air. Thinking about the length of time and the depth of the memories ~ if you think about it, it really gets you. Life is built with memories, but most especially, with God as your Head.

 

Cling tight to those memories, but most especially to those family members you love so much. Keep God as the head of your life always. Plant a legacy the future children and grandchildren will one day be extremely proud of. Then, quietly leave it behind, trusting in the Lord to handle the rest in this wild adventure we call life. The continuous circle of life will go on until Judgment Day. But you – yes, you – only have 1 life to live. 1 life. How are you going to live it? Making choices you may one day regret? Or living in a way that is not only pleasing to God, but in a way where your future grandchildren will one day wish they’d lived it with you?

 

I will forever love and miss my grandmother. She was one of the more important persons in my life. But as I continue on in this adventurous and busy life, I will honor her memory by carrying on her legacy ~ a legacy she would’ve been proud of ~ all the while planting my own.

 

JMK~

Goals for Fall & Winter 2018~

25 September 2018

 

Hello, everyone!!! 😀

 

I am BACK!!! Back and ready to roll! 🙂

 

Some of you may be wondering where I was for two months. Well, I had been busily studying away to get my insurance producer license. For a month and a half, I took classes and studied for four exams for Property & Casualty insurance – only one in which I passed on the first try. Monday of last week, I finally passed the final exam. Along that time, I had sacrificed every evening to studying. My life only consisted of church, work, and eating. Friday evenings were the only time I used to spend with my husband. Otherwise, I was studying away, and I learned a lot and it was so very worth it. But now, I am back, and so excited to discover what God has planned for our lives. I’m also so excited for evenings spent with my husband again, and free time to do chores around the house, hobbies such as writing, knitting, reading, and playing piano. I’m so excited to get back into the business of writing and editing again – Lord knows how much I missed it.

 

Therefore, below is a list of goals I hope to accomplish before the end of this year, 2018. Hope you all enjoy, and comment your two-cents worth as well. I also enjoy hearing from fellow followers.

 

  • Finish editing my completed manuscript, “The Dead Sister” and send back to my beta reader.
  • Complete my knitting project (round table decoration runner) and give as a gift to somebody this Christmas.
  • Play a couple piano songs that will influence me as a pianist, songs I’ve been waiting to complete for a long time.
  • Get 2-3 novels read before the end of the year, including the newest book from my favorite author, Kate Morton: “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” (so excited!).
  • Get more organized around the house and maybe do some planning about the kind of decorations I’d like in our new home next year.
  • Start learning to sew by beginning a sewing project with my mother.
  • Start writing a new book with a catching title and a beautiful, thrilling storyline.

 

Now, it’s your turn! If you wish to join in the fun, let’s get to know each other better, people 🙂 Copy and paste the list below into your comments and complete it, or else send me a message if you prefer not to say. I’d love to get to know my followers better – whether you’re on WordPress only, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram 🙂 Come, and let’s be friends!

 

Hope to talk to you soon! Below is the list:

 

  1. Your favorite fall activity is:
  2. Your favorite fall hobby:
  3. Such hobbies such as knitting and sewing are_____________.
  4. Who is your favorite author?
  5. Favorite book genre?
  6. Favorite past-time?
  7. Outdoor or indoor person?
  8. Coffee, tea, or neither?
  9. Preferred weekend activity?
  10. State or province you live in?
  11. What you’d like my page to show more of? (Be appropriate, please.) __________________
  12. Was this list a good idea? Yes or No?

 

Blessings always,

 

JMK~